The new facility will be able to charge electric vehicles already in use by Metro and King County.

The new facility will be able to charge electric vehicles already in use by Metro and King County. 

Photo: King County Metro

King County Executive Dow Constantine and King County Metro celebrated the opening of the test charging facility for Metro’s battery-electric fleet alongside the cities of Seattle and Tukwila, Seattle City Light, and representatives of New Flyer.

The first battery-electric buses are now in service.

This opening also marks the start of service for the first next-generation coaches provided by New Flyer. The test base, which can charge up to nine coaches simultaneously, was created with an “interchangeable design” that uses charging infrastructure from multiple manufacturers.

The facility will also be able to charge electric vehicles already in use by Metro and King County. 

“As we charge up these new electric coaches at this state-of-the-art facility and send them out on the road, we’re reducing global carbon emissions while taking local air pollution out of the communities most impacted by climate change,” said Constantine. “Developing buses to handle our unique conditions and scaling up our green infrastructure wouldn’t be possible without the innovative leadership of King County Metro and our partners in the transportation industry. That coordination has delivered the fleet that will drive Metro to the next green frontier.”

In 2020, King County announced the agreement with New Flyer to purchase next-generation, battery-electric coaches. A total of 40 battery-electric coaches will be put into service by the end of 2022.

Metro is currently on track to have a fully battery-electric fleet by 2035. The 60-ft coaches hold 120 people and can travel approximately 140 miles on a single charge. The 40-ft coaches hold 76 people on a 220-mile route on a single charge.

“This is the type of exemplary collaboration and partnership we need to achieve our climate action goals for the region,” said Mayor Harrell. “We are committed to delivering clean, reliable, fast transit service to every Seattle resident. Working together, we can build a cleaner, greener future.”

Seattle City Light was a partner in the project, providing support for the infrastructure concept design and build, testing, and commissioning to expedite the provision of the electrical service.

“Transportation electrification is an integral part of City Light’s modernization plan,” said Debra Smith, GM/CEO of Seattle City Light. “This strategic partnership with King County Metro helps prioritize public transportation electrification to deliver a triple win for our communities, the environment, and the utility.”